How to Deal with Summer's Bug Bites!

Getting stung by a bee can be one of childhood's worst summer memories! Pediatrican Dr. George Bengston had advice for coping with summer bug bites.

Allergic Reactions to Bug Bites

Mosquito bites, followed by bee stings, are the most common bites for kids to experience. And unless they are allergic to one of these insects, they are annoying but harmless. Signs of an allergic reaction include: difficulty breathing, tongue and lip swelling, throat tightness and difficulty swallowing or speaking, seizure, or widespread hives immediately following a sting. If you notice any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Removing Bee Stings

For bee stings, remove the little black dot, the stinger, from the wound. A credit card works great for this. Wash the area with soap and water and apply baking soda paste. This will stop the immediate pain. Then, place a washcloth with ice on the bite for 5 to 10 minutes. Hydrocortisone cream will help relieve the itching.

Bug Bite Remedies

For mosquito and other minor bites like fleas or chiggers, the best remedy is simply to avoid scratching the bite spot. Scratching only makes the bite worse. Cold compresses and hydrocortisone cream may also help.

There are a wide variety of creams and ointments available to help reduce the urge to itch. Calamine lotion is one of the best. A kid friendly product I have found that works great is After Bite - it looks like a magic marker, and is cool and soothing to the touch. The kids think it is funny that I am pretending to draw on them, too.

Children and Ticks

Another annoying summertime bug is the tick. These small, spider-like insects attach to the skin. Most of the time, kids do not even know that they have been bitten by a tick, especially since many are only the size of a head of a pin. Some ticks carry diseases, like Lyme disease, so if your child has been playing or hiking in the woods, you should perform a tick check.

Pay special attention to your child's head, including the scalp, back, and neck. If you find a tick, use tweezers to remove it, grabbing the tick as close as you can to the skin and pulling it off in one motion. It is a good idea to save the tick in a plastic bag incase you need to show it to you doctor

Bug Bite Prevention

Lastly, avoid applying fragrant lotions or soaps on your children since many bugs are attracted by scent. Be aware of your surroundings. Stagnant pools of water and uncovered foods are some of the places that insects like best. If any bite area becomes red and infected, contact your doctor.

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